Posted in Uncategorized

Moose’s Book Bus brings book love to you!

Moose’s Book Bus, by Inga Moore, (Nov. 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536217674

Ages 3-7

A wonderful love letter to libraries and book lovers everywhere, Moose’s Book Bus starts with Moose, who has run out of stories to tell his family. He heads to the library after none of his neighbors have stories available, and he discovers a wealth of books to bring to his family! The news about Moose’s storytimes spreads, and before Moose can say “Cinderella”, his house is simply stuffed with friends and neighbors, all waiting for his stories! Moose asks the librarian at the library for some advice, and the two work together to create a bookmobile! Moose fixes up an old bus, the Duck Librarian fills it with books, and Moose drives the bus to his neighborhood, where he also teaches his friends to read – and they teach other friends, until everyone is able to read and love books together. This is heartwarming book illustrates the power that stories have to bring us together. Inga Moore’s pencil, pastel, and wash illustrations are soft, and her animal cast of characters are a delight. Perfect for library storytimes, you may want to pair it with Inga Moore’s A House in the Woods (2011), the companion book to Moose’s Book Bus. Sepia endpapers have a wonderfully antique feel to them, showing the book bus parked in the woods, with excited animal friends racing toward it. Download a free activity kit to have ready to hand out at storytime.

 

Posted in picture books

Dear Librarian: A moving memoir

Dear Librarian, by Lydia M. Sigwarth/Illustrated by Romina Galotta, (June 2021, Farrar, Straus, Giroux), $18.99, ISBN: 9780374313906

Ages 4-8

Librarian Lydia M. Sigwarth’s picture book memoir was inspired by Ira Glass’s public radio show, This American Life. At the age of 5, Lydia’s family moved from Colorado to Iowa. WIthout a home of their own, Lydia, her six siblings, and parents stayed at relatives’ homes, but had no place of their own – until Lydia’s mother took her to the library, where she found a Library Home in the stories, the programs, and in the librarian, who always had time for a hug, to read a book with Lydia, and make her feel safe. Inspired to become a librarian thanks to “her” librarian, Lydia’s experiences illustrate both the library as emotional home for those who may not have anywhere to go; the emotional work of the librarian, and the love so many of us have for what we do. Romina Galotta’s illustrations capture the magic hidden in the ordinary; we see young Lydia walk into the library for the first time, flowers blooming out of shelves and sprouting up from book pages, just waiting for her. The warm atmosphere of the children’s room will bring a smile to any library lover’s face; I ached, missing my library even more, seeing the puppet show theatre and toy bins lining the floor of Lydia’s childhood library. Most of all, I loved the panel where Lydia’s librarian leans forward as Lydia approaches the desk; the two share a smile, connected, as Lydia’s flowers, bloom up from the librarian’s desk, letting readers know that this is part of her magical, safe space. She wanders through the stacks, accompanied by a whale; she and her librarian fight dragons together; she is where she needs to be. Now a librarian, Lydia connects with the children in her room, making paper dolls, sharing books and hugs, and connecting at that desk, robots and flowers present: she is someone else’s safe place now. An afterword from Lydia Sigwarth talks about her experiences in the library and reconnecting with her librarian Deb Stephenson, thanks to This American Life.

I was lucky enough to attend a librarian chat with Lydia Sigworth and her publisher, and it was one of the best experiences! Lydia Sigwarth is amazing, folx; I just wanted to talk books with her forever. She’s upbeat, inspirational, and such a positive force. I’m thrilled that she had a chance to share her story with us. Dear Librarian is a book every library should have handy – and that every librarian should read, because what we do makes an impact (and we need to remember that!).

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Librarian Resistance! Don’t Check Out This Book by Kate Klise

Don’t Check Out This Book!, by Kate Klise/Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise, (March 2020, Algonquin), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-61620-976-6

Ages 8-12

In this testament to the librarian resistance, new school librarian Rita B. Danjerous moves into the town of Appleton, Illinois, a town that’s been dwindling. Heck, Rita’s there because the school received a “When All Else Fails” grant, and by enrolling Rita’s daughter, May B Danjerous (you’ll notice there’s no period after the B), the school will hit their minimum enrollment of 20 students to be allowed to stay open. Appleton Elementary School is not quite ready for a librarian like Rita, or a kid like May, but they’ll be glad the two are there: this is a mother-daughter duo who see things a little differently than most of the folks in Appleton, and they’re going to have to lock horns with the school board president, Ivana Beprawpa, who has her own ideas about how the school should be run… and dressed!

I loved this fun story that puts us librarians in such a good light! Rita is smart, savvy, and ready to work with what she’s got to make her library – in this case, a custodial closet, and then an apple cart – work. She creates a scandalous “Green Dot Collection” for kids who may be a little embarrassed to ask for books about certain subjects (which totally has my brain wheels turning for when my library opens back up); she pushes back against silly bureaucrats who operate with their own special interests in mind; and she encourages her daughter, and her library kids, to question everything and think independently. Written as a series of emails, newspaper articles, memos, sketches, and other forms of written communication, kids will devour this awesome book about the power of one person who sees things differently. A great idea for a book club read, too.

Kate Klise is the award-winning author of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series, which is a big hit in my library. Her author website has info about her books – most of which are illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise! – and links to her blog and workshop information.

Posted in Non-Fiction

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They left Behind

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They left Behind, by Cynthia Grady/Illustrated by Amiko Hirao, (Jan. 2018, Charlesbridge), $16.99, ISBN: 9781580896887

Recommended for readers 5-10

Inspired by a true story, Write to Me tells the story of Clara Breed, a children’s librarian who corresponded with her Japanese American patrons when they were sent to internment camps during World War II. She gave them postcards to let her know where they were; she visited them, wrote to them, and sent them books and crafts to help ease their minds during their confinement. She advocated for those children by writing articles and attending rallies, advocating for her kids. When the kids came home, she was waiting for them – and they came to her. She was comfort in a cruel time. Write to me tells the story of Clara Breed through conversations with her library kids; muted pencil art illustrates life in the prison camps, with excerpts from actual letters on each page to show the passage of time. Endpapers display photos from the period, including family arrivals at the camps and evacuation notices for Japanese Americans. An author’s note features a photo of Clara Breed and two of her patrons, taken at a reunion in 1991. There’s a timeline of Clara Breed’s life, including links to her articles on the war, relocation, civil liberties, and human rights, and a selected history of the Japanese People in the United States. Source notes, bibliography, and further reading are available. A touching book about a woman who touched lives, and a nice addition to biography collections.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Urban Librarians Conference was GREAT!

I went to my first professional librarians’ conference last week; the Urban Librarians Conference, at Central Brooklyn Library. It was such a great experience; I met some fellow librarians, sat in on some panels that sparked a lot of ideas, and enjoyed wandering around the gorgeous library.

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ulu_1Check-in was a breeze, and you have to love a conference that gives you Laffy Taffy in your goodie bag. And a yo-yo. Which my toddler commandeered as soon as I got home, but hey – I got a couple of yo-yo rotations in, at least.

I’m always that person that feels like hugging the wall at networking events, but everyone here was so amazing. I got to chat up the publishers, Melville House and Penguin Random House, that tabled the event, and check out some books for my YA readers. As for the other publishers out there, where were you? Come on, I worked in publishing for 15 years, you all have library marketing departments, and you’ve all got some kind of New York presence. You need to come out to this! We can’t all make it to PLA or ALA, after all; this is a great chance to really speak to librarians; a much smaller, more personal setting, without the frenetics of Book Expo or the bigger library conferences.

 

ulu_2The keynote speaker, Lancelot Chase, from StartUp Box, talked about how his organization works to get people in the South Bronx working in the QA (Quality Assurance) sector of the gaming industry. People game for a living, and make a decent wage to do it. StartUp Box works to bring their community together through gaming, too, holding gaming competitions in conjunction with the local police precinct. He was inspirational, and I’m pretty sure the librarians are fighting over who gets to invite him to talk to our patrons first (ahem. Get in line.)

 

 

 

 

I loved the TeacherLab session, led by Amy Mikel from Brooklyn Public Library. I’ve been trying to reach out to the local schools and get in touch with the parent coordinators, to make the parents and children more aware of what we have to offer them here at Pomonok, but TeacherLab is a professional development session for teachers that will bring them into the libraries and show them what we can offer them in terms of resources and collection. I love this idea, and hope to get one up and running by the end of the summer. Fingers crossed!

ulu_4I also enjoyed Eric Neuman’s session on working with digital natives – that would be kids these days – and the digital divide, which encompasses more than not having the access to technology (although that’s a huge part of the problem). For these kids, technology is ubiquitous – it’s always there, it’s always been there- so they never had to learn how to use it like we digital immigrants did/do. They need us to help them navigate the whys and wherefores of research and technology, and they need the access to technology in order to sharpen these skills. He also included a gratuitous cat slide in his presentation, so – bonus.

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I’d love to see this conference stay small and personal, but have more exhibitors take advantage of this opportunity. And I’d like to see some children’s publishing featured here. I’m not the only children’s librarian that went to ULU2015, and I’d have liked the chance to talk about the state of children’s publishing and educational publishing and media. I’ll be going to BookExpo this year, but again – it’s huge, it’s frenetic in pace, and there’s bound to be lost opportunities on both my side and the publisher side. Who knows, maybe I’ll make that a goal for 2016- help get some children’s publishing exhibitors at ULU2016.

I came away from the day with a notepad full of exclamation points and scribbled thoughts, and a real feeling of excitement at having been part of this day. I can’t wait to some plans into action.